EDA designates Opportunity Zones as agency priority
On June 12, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) designated Opportunity Zones – the tax incentive program established under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97) – as an official investment priority for the agency. The Opportunity Zone program encourages private investment in new businesses, property development and infrastructure in distressed communities. Many counties contain areas that qualify for opportunity zone status and are eligible for targeted investment.
EDA's investment priorities help guide the agency’s activities and ensure its investments promote sustainable economic growth and economic diversification. The agency’s June 12 announcement makes projects located in Opportunity Zones eligible to receive EDA funding, effective immediately, and also applies to existing EDA funding notices. Project applications are subject to certain requirements, and must demonstrate that they:
- Align with EDA’s investment priorities
- Address the creation and/or retention of high-quality jobs
- Document an ability to leverage public and private resources for the project
- Demonstrate an ability to implement the project quickly and use funding effectively, and
- Provide a clear scope of the project that includes measurable impacts.
EDA’s announcement follows previous efforts in July 2018 to make projects located within Opportunity Zones eligible for EDA funding. To date, EDA has invested approximately $30 million in 40 projects in Opportunity Zones to help communities and regions implement economic development initiatives.
Click here for additional resources:
- NACo Blog: Gunnison County, Colo. Commissioner testifies in support of the Economic Development Administration
- NACo Blog: Legislation introduced to measure economic impact of opportunity zones
- NACo Policy Brief: U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA): Support Essential Seed Capital/Gap Financing for Local Job Creation
- U.S. Department of the Treasury: Interactive Map of Opportunity Zones
Washtenaw County, Mich. has returned $3.3 million in real estate to families who were forced by segregation to rely on complex legal strategies to buy homes.
On January 23 and January 25, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Representatives Joyce Beatty and John Garamendi reintroduced the HOME Investment Partnerships Reauthorization and Improvement Act. The bicameral legislation reauthorizes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program, incrementally increases the program’s authorization levels until 2028 and makes several changes to the program to increase flexibility.
On January 31, the U.S. Senate Budget Committee held a hearing titled “A Blueprint for Prosperity: Expanding Housing Affordability.” The hearing investigated the nationwide shortage of affordable housing opportunities for Americans, recommendations on how to address this crisis and how expanding housing affordability drives economic growth.